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searching for the end...


A part of his life was filled with suffering. Horrendous suffering at the hands of evil - boils from the soles of his feet to the top of his head, death of his servants, the robbery of his livestock, and ultimately the death of his sons and daughters. Job knew suffering. He knew it well. But at the end, God restored Job "...blessing the last part of Job's life more than the first." Job 42:12


His life was also filled with suffering. As a missionary, he faced beatings, stoning's, shipwrecks, dangers from robbers, labor, hardship, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, without food or clothing, cold, and imprisoned. As Joseph and I stared into the prison where he was held in Rome a few years ago, we were silent as the dark and damp conditions overwhelmed our hearts as we knew this was where he wrote many letters to the churches encouraging them in the midst of his suffering. Ultimately, Biblical theologians believe that it was likely he was sent to death by beheading.

The outcomes were harshly different between these two men who both had faith that could move mountains. They both relentlessly pursued God, no matter what the end. Why did they end so drastically? Why didn't God give Paul restoration here on earth? Why did He allow evil to harm "...a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil." Job 1:1 So many questions, with so few answers.

Lately, I have been enthralled with reading The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. As I closed in on the end of the 3rd book the other night (The Horse and His Boy), I came to a part that I couldn't help but read and reread and reread again. It was a part where Shasta (the boy) is asking Aslan (the Lion) about his friend Aravis and why Aslan put stripes on her back with his pa. "'Child', said the Lion, 'I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own."

I wish the answer was simple to the question of "Why does God do what He does?" We will never see the masterpiece that He is creating in someone else. It is their story. It is your mom's story, your dad's story, your sister's story, your friend's story, your enemies story. And then there is your story. As I was searching for my end, crying out to God telling him I felt more like Paul than Job and begging Him to show me what my end would be, he made me realize that their story was theirs and theirs alone, I need only to show the same faith, to persevere, to never give up, and to always give God more glory through it.

"By your endurance gain your lives." Luke 21:19

"Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:16 - 18


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